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“The Democratic Party in that district was doing everything it could to prevent any Democratic candidate from getting into the race,” said political consultant Stan Barnes, a former Republican state legislator. “Olivia Cortes‘ connection to the Pearce camp is easily identifiable, but this episode of the Democratic Party forcing its voters to choose between two Mormon Republicans has its own controversy. It just hasn’t gotten as much attention as Olivia Cortes.”

Given Mr. Pearce’s reputation as a hard-liner on border security, it’s no surprise that immigration has emerged as a key issue dividing the otherwise conservative Republicans. Mr. Lewis has expressed reservations about S.B. 1070, which requires law enforcement to determine the status of suspected illegal immigrants. He said the bill has hurt Arizona’s reputation.

“First off, we have to change the image that we have in Mesa and in Arizona,” Mr. Lewis said in an Oct. 6 debate. “We are seen as a very unfriendly business state. We are seen as something akin to maybe 1964 Alabama. Business owners do not want to move their businesses here in the current environment.”

The Pearce camp has pounced on that statement, sending out a mailer last week that calls Mr. Lewis “embarrassed to be an Arizonan” and “embarrassed to be from Mesa.”

Mr. Pearce has dominated the endorsement contest — his backers include Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and a host of elected officials — but this recall is the first in Arizona history. As a result, there’s no template, analysts say.

“We’re in such rare air in the Arizona political environment that no one knows what to expect,” Mr. Barnes said.